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Stealth Retreat: Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley

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Stealth Retreat: Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley

Sarah Lonsdale April 17, 2012

A five-star resort with sheep, bees, and vines—welcome to Northern California.

Obscurely located in its own canyon, Calistoga Ranch is not easy to find: It's situated at the northern end of the Napa Valley, off the Silverado Trail. The upscale resort has managed to achieve an elusive balance of rustic-luxe; hence its popularity with LA celebrities in search of solitude (or anonymity, at least). Guests are housed in cedar lodges in an oak grove, where the architecture accommodates the trees. Patios with wood decks link the bedrooms to living rooms, and indoor-outdoor living is an integral part of any stay. The only resort in the valley with its own vineyard gives guests little reason to leave the grounds. For further information, visit Calistoga Ranch.

Photography by Mimi Giboin.

Above: A cedar wood lodge in a grove of oak trees, with stairs to a bedroom built around an existing bough.

Above: Guest lodges feature indoor-outdoor living areas with fireplaces for chilly evenings.

Above: Each bathroom has an adjoining outdoor shower.

Above: A pool in the spa area, overlooking Lake Lommel. The waters in Calistoga are renowned for their minerals.

Above: The Sotero Estate vineyard, located near the entrance to the resort.

Above: Local pottery from Calistoga is provided in the guest rooms and filled with water from the property's well.

Above: Cabernet Sauvignon vines are ready to bud.

Above: Overgrown grass in the vineyard is kept under control by Baby Doll sheep, who take about six weeks to chomp it all up.

Above: Hand-carved walking sticks wait at a trailhead for guests to use on one of the hillside walks.

Above: Just beyond the vineyard is a terraced garden with vegetable beds, a greenhouse, and beehives, where landscape manager Steve Ferrini also tends bonsai (Above). Last year, to celebrate Earth Day, guests received a small olive tree cutting upon departure. This year, they are taking home packets of Calistoga Ranch seeds.

Above: Wisteria growing on the grounds.

Above: Tea and honey for guests to enjoy in the spa.

Above: Thanks to the beehives, the spa now offers Bee Well Treatments that include honey. Shown above are small bowls of honey cream, organic lavender milk bath, honey rose body polish, and bee balm.

Above: The advent of spring at Calistoga Ranch, where the natural landscape plays a major role in creating the resort's ambiance.

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